Luxury goods market in China

The global luxury goods industry, which includes drinks, fashion, cosmetics, fragrances, watches, jewelry, luggage and handbags, has been on an upward climb for many years. The value of the personal luxury goods market worldwide was projected to reach 260 billion euros in 2018. Over the past decade, China and in particular the Chinese consumers have taken the lead in luxury shopping. Despite China’s slowdown in economic growth, the crackdown on gifting and weaker currency, the luxury goods market remained stable. Retail sales value of the personal luxury goods amounted to around 105 billion euros in 2017, ranking second after the United States. However, since many wealthy Chinese consumers travel abroad to buy luxury goods, the overall contribution of Chinese consumers to the world’s luxury goods market may be even higher than that from domestic consumption.

Store–based retail dominated the luxury goods market in China. The world’s top ten most valuable luxury brands all have their own stores in China, distributing mostly in economically developed regions. As the world’s most valuable luxury goods brand, Louis Vuitton opened its China’s first store in Beijing in 1992 and owned 44 stores in China in 2015. The new Chinese luxury shoppers tend to shop both in stores and online. The penetration of online luxury goods market was forecasted to reach 13 percent by 2021, which encourages many brands to engage their Chinese consumers through omnichannels that combine store and online experiences. While many Chinese luxury consumers still prefer shopping in physical stores that seem more reliable for product authenticity and pre-sales service/advice, the online luxury shopping trend is especially growing among population from the third and lower tier cities in China, where physical high-end brand shops are less common. Among online luxury consumers, majority are younger generation in their 20s who mostly appreciate a larger brand selection and shopping convenience online.

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